Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Rusty Pails #28:
Hat Pins and Lug Nuts

by Rocky Macy

It’s not a magic word, but just whispering it around an auction is guaranteed to drive the price up on almost anything. Would you like to know the most expensive word in an auctioneer’s vocabulary? Well, sirs (and ma’ams), here it is: collectibles.

That’s right. Collectibles. And it doesn’t make any difference what you hang it on – or what shape it’s in – just say it’s a collectible and some durned fool will plop down U.S. cash money!

Anyone can collect anything – salt and pepper shakers, political buttons, and costume jewelry are always in demand. Truman Treetopper, when he was still in his prime, ‘acquired’ a collection of ashtrays from every business within a fifty-mile radius of Sprung Hinge. His assortment was so complete that when the Chamber of Commerce needed a business address or phone number, they would just phone Truman and he’d check his collection!

Other collectors lean more toward the exotic. Take for example the case of the Longtooth spinsters. Miss Lucy works as the night cashier down at Herb’s Truck Oasis. She has a collection of lug nuts off of big rigs from every state in the nation. Her sister, Miss Lola, specializes in hatpins. (I speculate that the hatpins are for protection in case some crazed truckers ever figure out what’s happening to their lug nuts!)

Not even old jaded Rusty Pails is immune from the “collectible” craze. I have a collection of busted household furniture and appliances that are too big for the trash man to take. I’ve been working on it ever since the dump closed!

Auction Tip: Bad weather can be good news. It will keep some people away from a sale and increase your chances of getting bargains. Just break out the old umbrellas and see if it ain’t so!

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